Wednesday, April 8, 2009

You Are What You Wear?

Whether it’s Michelle Obama’s fashion sense or the flood of commentary following a red carpet event, we are bombarded with what people wear.

I see how other moms dress their children, like something straight out of Cookie Magazine or a Gap Kids catalog. While I make efforts, some days I’m lucky if I’ve helped remind my girls to put on underwear. It’s a good day if I’ve remembered to wash their face before they’ve walked out the door. And I’m okay with that. Why? Because think of how many people stare over pictures of themselves in brown and orange mismatched 70’s getups and laugh at the clothes while reminiscing over the good times. Do they really care how they were dressed? No, the clothes actually become more of a conversation boost and something to bond about.

Do clothes matter? Are we what we wear? There’s no denying that I feel more accomplished and “with it” on the days I actually change out of my PJ’s. But don’t you think our country goes a little too far with defining people by their apparel choices?

Take Michelle Obama for example. Why on earth is what she wears even a hot topic? I think I’ve heard more about what she wears than what she’s accomplished as First Lady. That’s just not right. And why are there hundreds of pictures in magazines each week depicting ladies in Hollywood in their dress down, sloppy-wear. Why are we surprised to see them that way, or rather why does it send a reassuring chill down our spine to celebrate that we aren’t the only ones who can look sloppy? I won’t even mention Jessica Simpson’s choice of the 80’s style mom-jean. Ohps, just did.

I’m not saying that a sharp outfit from J. Crew or a beautiful ensemble from Ann Taylor doesn’t do it for me. I’m all for class (and comfort too by the way) but I don’t think it should be what defines us. I know, I know, appearances count, make a good impression, put your best foot forward…blah, blah, blah. I agree, it’s just something laughs inside me whenever I see someone like Bjork in her swan dress at the Oscars or when I think of John the Baptist gnawing on a locust in his sandals and perhaps a loin cloth. I’m secretly thrilled by it. Why, you ask as you begin to worry about me again. I like it because it shows they didn’t care.

Now, maybe I’m going too far to the other extreme…but that’s what you have to do with the pendulum sometimes…you need to swing it so everyone can rest easy in the middle somewhere. That middle for me would be the desire to present yourself well, spirit and mind first, appearances following, with the wherewithal to know when you’ve placed too much emphasis and importance on how you look.

Are you what you wear?


  1. Oh, so true!
    There is nothing like taking your 5 year-old to the docs for a check-up to find out tht he has gone "commando" - yet again :0). And my kids are the ones in the store with PB&J on their faces (after I swore I would never let that happen). There are so many more important things in life to let appearance become SOOO important.

  2. I think I used to think I was what I wore. That was long, long ago. Long before I met my adoring husband, long before I had three pre-school aged children, and long before I could be thankful for three consecutive hours of sleep each night. I now buy my children's clothing from rummage and garage sales, take hand-me-downs from neighbors, and sometimes even splurge by picking up a clearance outfit from Walmart. I attempt to avoid stains and rips, but I've discovered that holes happen. No material stays in a state of perfection for long. LOL

    A few years ago, when my husband was still in full-time ministry, we had some missionaries from India come through for a week. They were selling hand-made India attire to raise money for their efforts. One full outfit was $40, so we splurged and I got something I thought was delightful and comfy. When I put it on, it felt just like pajamas--only more comfy than imaginable (the fabric was unbelievably soft). I might have looked ridiculous to passers-by, but I was at the top of my game, feeling all snuggly soft even in near 100 degree Texas temps. Weird, I know.

    I used to buy into the whole "you have to get dressed each day to be productive" mindset, but I don't anymore. I really think it's all in the mind. If you feel that what you wear is an indication of how productive you are, then sure, get dressed in an effort to motivate yourself. Me...I'll likely stay in my PJs most of the day and then just 30 minutes before my darling comes home, I'll throw on something cutsie (read: CLEAN), apply some deodorant, spritz up my hair a bit, and dab on some lipstick and eye-liner to welcome him home. He totally loves the all-natural look, but I admit that *I* enjoy spending a few minutes getting all primped before his arrival. There's just something exciting about it. I suppose that's all in the mind, too. :)


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